For The Love Of Blues

By Jenna Croyle

“Blues means what milk does to a baby. Blues is what the spirit is to the minister. We sing the blues because our hearts have been hurt, our souls have been disturbed.” – Alberta Hunter

In the late 50’s, Blues music began to spread out across the country, saturating the soul of America. Along with other artists, Elvis Presley deserves much of the credit for bringing the blues to Middle America, he had the power, the drive, and the dedication to his music.

Blues music is becoming more popular, more now than it ever has been. Blues is a natural fact, something that one lives. If you do not live it, you do not have it. Though so many young musicians today have forgotten to cry the blues, this weekend’s featured band, Dollar Bill and the Spare Change wails the blues with the greatest of ease, almost as if by magic.

You can definitely hear the organic nature of the music pouring out of Dollar Bill and the Spare Change, the music is patient, unhurried and open with the improvisations taking on a moody and creative style. Clearly, the time and energy this band puts into preparation is very well rewarded with not only the tightness of the band, but the raw and aggressive emotions that flow from Dollar Bill and the Spare Change whenever they take the stage.

As two-time finalists for the RockErie Music Awards Best Blues Band category, Dollar Bill and the Spare Change features Bill Crissman on Guitar and Lead Vocals, Anthony Stefanelli on Drums and Vocals, Fred Colvin on Bass and Vocals along with Mark Dolak on Harmonica and Vocals.

Dollar Bill and the Spare Change cranks out the hits by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, along with many others, as well as hard-hitting original tunes by Bill Crissman, that include “No Time Blues,” “Had To Be a Better Way”, and “Spare Change Shuffle.”

Dollar Bill and the Spare Change keeps the fans dancing all night to brilliantly performed covers of “Do What You Want To Do” by Coco Montoya, “Hoochie Coochie Man” by Muddy Waters, “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton, “The House Is Rockin’” and “Pride and Joy” both by Stevie Ray Vaughan, along with “The Thrill Is Gone” by the great B.B. King, “Mustang Sally” by Wilson Picket and of course, “Sweet Home Chicago” by the Blues Brothers and so many more great toe tapping tunes.

With the nearly gruff and always powerful voice of Bill Crissman leading the band to super high-energy blues that is delivered with emotion and versatility, Crissman’s stage presence is confident and charismatic, drawing his audiences deep into the music in an almost hypnotic way.

Not only a talented singer and Guitar picker, Crissman also is a very gifted song writer, composing the original hits that the band plays such as “Spare Change Boogie”, “Right From Wrong”, “Mrs Sippi” and “Gonna Climb Every Mountain” to name only a few.

The chops of Drummer Anthony Stefanelli are simply stellar, offering dynamic and spot on beats that never seem rehearsed, yet are constantly professional and energizing.

Fred Colvin’s Bass work is very rhythmic and simple, though his Blue Notes are progressive sounding with a classic style, all delivered with true showmanship and passion for the music, making Colvin one of the best Blues Bass Guitarists in Erie Today.

With seemingly effortless command of the Harmonica, Mark Dolak lends a very imaginative and extremely talented nuance to the band, enriching the music and enthralling the audience, Dolak is arguably the backbone of the band’s sound.

With that original hardcore Mississippi Blues sound with a Rockin’ edge, featuring some of the best musicianship in town, all rolled into a full throttle stage show, Dollar Bill and the Spare Change is definitely one of the best Blues bands to ever hit an Erie stage.

For more information on Dollar Bill and the Spare Change and their show dates, please visit their Facebook Page.




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